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  • 10 Future Ecommerce Trends & Forecasts for 2020 – A Look Into What’s Next

10 Future Ecommerce Trends & Forecasts for 2020 – A Look Into What’s Next

Category: B2B News

The ecommerce train has undergone great changes since the first online stores set up shop back in the 90s. The most notable of all ecommerce trends to date is the rate at which the sector has been growing. Today, ecommerce is valued at around $2 trillion. Never before has retail been as profitable as it is now, hence the popularity of ecommerce software among online retailers.

So what are the trends in ecommerce? Among others, a survey has revealed that there has been renewed focus on omnichannel selling, personalization and digital marketing. Developments in the ecommerce world are indeed exciting for both buyers and sellers.

To give you a better picture of what’s happening on the ground, we have gathered some of the most notable ecommerce trends that best describe the future of online selling. After you’re done with this reading, you should be able to use the insights provided to better manage or build your own online store. 

ecommerce trends main web

The retail sector has immensely benefited from online selling as it gave this age-old industry the ability to reach out to more customers without sacrificing the customer experience that physical stores offered. In the same manner, ecommerce fits retailers of all types and sizes, covering products ranging from truck parts to shoes to clothing. All parties in the retail loop, including manufacturers, suppliers and consumers can benefit from online selling. This massive market base makes online selling a difficult process to manage, prompting ecommerce companies to depend on the benefits of ecommerce solutions.

But ecommerce is not limited to the Business-to-Consumer model. Business-to-Business (B2B) companies are likewise seen to benefit from having an online presence. This market is seen to become even bigger as sales continue to soar from increased online shopping activity. With 15% of Americans making weekly online purchases, ecommerce may very well become the new norm.

Ecommerce’s popularity is further fueled by the fact that more and more retailers have come to accept its effectiveness. For those who continue to resist the concept, failure to embrace it is risking losing their businesses. This shift, in turn, has resulted in the popularity of top ecommerce platforms among online sellers.

Online Selling Will Get Bigger

Ecommerce is the most popular online activity and has been growing exponentially. Online sales are forecast to reach $4.5 trillion in 2021. This popularity stems from the ease and comfort that online shopping offers, prompting more and more people to cut down on mall visits and purchase online instead. Besides, consumer trust in online purchasing has increased, further boosting online sales. One can confirm this growth simply by looking at current ecommerce statistics.

Today’s websites are more user-friendly, offering customers only the best online shopping experience. The processes involved in online shopping have also improved, allowing customers to find and choose the items they want with ease and pay using a variety of payment options. These days, online shoppers are coming in droves, unlike before when people shy away from making online purchases.

Takeaways:

  • Ecommerce is slated for further growth.
  • Online sales will reach $4.5 trillion in 2021.
  • Online shopping now enjoys greater customer trust.
  • Online shopping processes have significantly improved.

Global Retail eCommerce Sales, 2014 to 2021

Years Covered 2014–2021
Billions of Dollars

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019

2020

2021

Source: emarketer.com

Designed by

Customized Packaging

Let’s face it, as customers, we equate packaging with the brand itself. The nicer the packaging looks, the more likely we’re going to make a purchase. It is also a fact that most consumers become more excited about products that come in unique packaging. So it is a no brainer for online sellers to customize their product packaging. Doing so can help their products stand out.

For those of you who are planning to customize your product packaging, you can do so by focusing on different aspects of packaging. You can highlight packaging durability, aesthetics and even point out to your customers that your packaging is environment-friendly. Doing so would further aid in building your brand.

customized packaging

Takeaways:

  • Customers put stock in customized packaging.
  • Customized packaging makes products stand out.
  • Focusing on a product’s unique attributes will help retailers design better packaging.
  • Customized packaging contributes to brand building.

Rise of Mobile Shopping

The increase in mobile shopping is another noteworthy ecommerce trend. Sales from mobile commerce are seen to increase by 15% by the end of 2021. What’s more, mobile sales will account for 73% of all ecommerce sales. Just by looking at these stats, it’s easy to see how important mobile shopping will be to ecommerce companies in the coming years. 

To better understand the increase in mobile shopping sales, one has to look at how mobile devices have fared in the past year. Mobile devices have been flooding the market in recent years, leading to the uptick in the number of people using them. And mobile users are not just using mobile devices to shop but also to investigate products before deciding to purchase one. Consumers have also developed a flair for using mobile devices, owing to the comfort they offer when shopping.

Takeaways:

  • A 15% increase in mobile sales is expected by the end of 2021.
  • More people have been using mobile devices in recent years.
  • The increase in mobile device usage has contributed to the uptick in mobile sales.
  • Users use mobile devices in online shopping.

Mobile Shopping's Share of eCommerce, 2016 to 2021

2016

%

2017

%

2018

%

2019

%

2020

%

2021

%

Source: statista.com

Designed by

Multichannel Personalization

Personalizing customer interaction has become part and parcel of selling. This trend has become a staple among ecommerce companies as it can improve customer experience. However, there are lots of ways by which to leverage personalization. Imagine integrating this concept with multichannel selling. Now, we know that multichannel selling creates a variety of opportunities to link up with customers. But what if you can improve it by offering personalized interactions? The results can only be enhanced customer loyalty and therefore, repeat business.

Such a set up works by ensuring that individual customers get to have the same personalized brand experience regardless of what channel they are using. This also ensures that you provide your customers with only relevant experiences, doing away with the need to annoy your clients with irrelevant messages. However, many marketers have yet to subscribe to the model, limiting their ability to offer a seamless personalized experience.

Takeaways:

  • Personalization has become common among ecommerce companies.
  • Integration of personalization with multichannel selling promotes customer loyalty and retention.
  • Personalization enhances customer experience.
  • Majority of marketers have yet to adopt personalization.

Automation from using ecommerce solutions helps online sellers boost customer experience.

Better Payment Processing

Like it or not, payment processing is part of every customer’s journey and plays a critical role in the conversion process. This is because customers can decide to cancel a purchase even at the last minute. In simple terms, a deal is not a deal until your cash register bell rings. So, it doesn’t matter if you have convinced a lead to make that purchase. That potential conversion can still be scrapped if a customer finds your checkout process needing. Such is very true for startups, most of whom are beginning to reap the benefits of top ecommerce software for small business, which allow them to process payments in a variety of ways.

Shopping cart abandonment is very real, one of the most cited reasons for which is having a complex checkout process. If you want your online store to become more competitive, you should put in place a simple checkout process that involves easy payment options. For those who conduct business on a global scale, having local payment options and consolidating all payments into a single platform are recommended. Now, if you hit regulatory snags along the way, enlisting the help of a third-party service provider can help.

Takeaways:

  • Payment process is critical to conversion.
  • Complicated checkout processes cause cart abandonment.
  • Easy payment options can boost checkout processes.

Reasons for Cart Abandonment During Checkout

Extra costs too high

%

Site requires account creation

%

Too long/complicated checkout process

%

Failure to calculate total order cost up front

%

Website had errors/crashed

%

Distrust of site with credit card information

%

Slow delivery

%

Unsatisfactory returns policy

%

Not enough payment methods

%

Declined credit card

%

Source: Baymard Institute

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Omnichannel Selling

It’s time to embrace multichannel selling. Why? Well, for starters, consumers have been purchasing from different online sellers, including Amazon, branded stores, eBay, mom-and-pop shops and yes, even Facebook. Multichannel selling is expected to gain traction among ecommerce companies, who as of now, continue to shy away from the business model. This reluctance stems from the fact that managing multichannel selling is pretty hard.

This trend is inevitable as ecommerce companies are bound to grow and with growth comes the need to integrate inventory. Online sellers’ push into new markets will also drive the development as they look for new channels by which to reach new audiences. And with great market exposure comes the opportunity to boost revenues.

Multichannel Selling Statistics

  • 46.7% of all online searches start with marketplaces such as Etsy, Amazon, and eBay. (emarketer.com)
  • 51% of units sold on Amazon came from third-party sellers. (bigcommerce.com)
  • 1.5% – The rate at which ecommerce’s share of total retail sales has been increasing. (census.gov)
  • 37% – Amazon’s share of online spending. (wundermanthompsoncommerce.com)
  • 37% of users use social media to research products and brands. (globalwebindex.com)

Using apps like BigCommerce can help you quickly sell online.

Voice Shopping to Take Center Stage

Voice shopping has exploded in the United States and would continue to do so in the coming years. Proof of this is the fact that those who own smart speakers have admitted to having voice shopped as far back as 2017. The number of voice shoppers is expected to further increase by 55% by 2022. The growth of voice shopping stemmed from Amazon’s launch of its smart speaker, Echo.

Now, unlike shopping by visiting websites, voice shopping can be a bit tricky for some. No visuals are involved in this channel, with customers describing the product they want to buy. Popular products that voice shoppers purchase include homeware, food items, and low-cost electronics. Online sellers are encouraged to consider this trend and seek to offer customers the comfort they need when voice shopping.

Takeaways: 

  • Voice shopping continues to gain traction in the US.
  • Smart owner speakers engage in voice shopping.
  • The number of voice shoppers will increase by 55% in 2022.

Smart Speaker Sales Share

Google Amazon Others Alibaba Xiaomi
Google (36.2%) Amazon (27.7%) Others (17.3%) Alibaba (11.8%) Xiaomi (7%)

Source: canalys.com, Q1 2018

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Focus on Green Consumerism

Believe it or not, being environment-friendly is seen to influence online sales. Brands are expected to ride the green consumerism wave, with many consumers admitting to being influenced by environmental concerns when deciding on a purchase. The renewed focus on environmental sustainability is a clear sign that online sellers must step up by observing environment-friendly practices. Companies can do this by making sure that a greener online selling environment is established by sourcing products only from fair-trade organizations.

Another thing driving green consumerism is the emergence of Millennials as a robust buyer group. Members of this generation are keen on demanding environment-friendly products. This demand for green products is steering ecommerce companies to adopt environmentally sound practices.

environmentalism in ecommerce

Takeaways:

  • Environment-friendly practices are seen to boost online sales.
  • Consumers’s purchasing decisions can be influencec by environmental concerns.
  • Product sourcing from fair-trade organizations can help companies improve their environmental footprint.
  • The emergence of the Millennial market contributes to green consumerism.

Social Media Enters Online Shopping

Social media is not what it used to be. It’s no longer a channel by which people connect with others. Social media has evolved as a marketing tool, enabling brands to expand their target audiences. Platforms like Instagram and Facebook have been equipped with “buy buttons,” which allow retailers to sell through them. Online stores have also been establishing links with social media platforms, enabling customers to make purchases through the latter.

Most social media platforms have been focusing on catering to online shoppers. But more importantly, social media has become a channel by which brands can receive optimal exposure. Social media exposure results in more people becoming aware of a product or service. And because social media’s influence on users continues to increase by the day. Such is why it would do ecommerce companies good to come up with social marketing strategies.

Takeaways:

  • Social media has become a marketing tool.
  • Social media allows companies to expand their audiences.
  • Retailers can now sell through social media.
  • Social media help brands receive maximum exposure.

Social Media Activities That Influence Shopping Behavior

Reading users'comments

%

Viewing ads

%

Brand reputation

%

Writing reviews

%

Associating with brands

%

Purchasing via social media

%

Source: econstor.eu

Designed by

Increased AI Use in Ecommerce

More and more organizations have been turning to artificial intelligence (AI) to improve their workflows and processes. And ecommerce companies are no exception. Retailers were among the first to recognize the benefits of including AI in their tech arsenal. It’s no wonder that online sellers are seen to spend $7.3 billion on AI by 2022. The driving force behind this increase is the retailers’ drive to provide personalized customer experience.

These developments in AI spending just show how willing retailers are to invest to improve the services that they render. Prominent AI applications to date include customer service, sales, and marketing. However, areas such as forecasting and pricing are also seen to benefit from AI use. The benefits of AI in the sales process is very promising indeed. It is in this light that ecommerce businesses are advised to consider spending on AI technology.

consumers willing to purchase from chatbots

Takeaways:

  • Companies use AI to improve workflows and processes.
  • Ecommerce companies will spend 7.3 billion on AI by 2022.
  • The push to provide better customer experience is driving AI adoption.
  • Pricing and forecasting can also be improved from AI use.

Importance of Knowing Ecommerce Trends

The ecommerce trends presented here are meant to paint a clear picture of what the future holds for online selling. Based on the numbers, the horizon looks rosy for this selling platform. Online selling has touched numerous businesses in different industries, changing the way these companies operate. The benefits of ecommerce have resulted in businesses scrambling to get their presence known online. 

The latest ecommerce trends are leading organizations to adopt new technologies and business practices that are believed to further improve online selling. Never before heard concepts and even trivial retailing matters such as packaging, better customer experience, multichannel selling, and green consumerism are now in the spotlight.

Given the massive changes that ecommerce is slated to undergo, it’s recommended that companies read and understand the writing on the wall. If you are an online seller or planning to become one, keeping these trends in mind can significantly improve the way you sell online or even help you create a robust online business. However, you will need to use available technologies to make this happen. So, think about investing in the best ecommerce systems that the market has to offer.

By Jenny Chang

Senior writer at FinancesOnline who writes about a wide range of SaaS and B2B products, including trends and issues on e-commerce, accounting and customer service software. She’s also covered a wide range of topics in business, science, and technology for websites in the U.S., Australia and Singapore, keeping tabs on edge tech like 3D printed health monitoring tattoos and SpaceX’s exploration plans.

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